Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Santa Lilio Sangre: Ayami Kojima Art Works

Today, after arriving home from doing work at the college, I was surprised to find that a book I had ordered arrived at my house much sooner than I expected it to. I ordered it late last week and it had to ship over here from Japan. I figured I'd have to wait at least another week or so, but I didn't and that's great. As the title of this entry suggests, the book I ordered was Santa Lilio Sangre: Ayami Kojima Art Works.
Ayami Kojima's Santa Lilio Sangre. Released only in Japan in 2010.
Before I continue, I should provide you with some information about Ayami Kojima and this book. Ayami Kojima is a Japanese artist who is mostly known for her artwork in video games, particularly the Castlevania series, although she has done a lot of work outside of video games. The first game she had done artwork for was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which was released in 1997. This game was unusual for two reasons. First, it was a 2D side-scrolling game at a time when 3D games were becoming the big thing and second, the artwork was done by hand at a time when more computer made artwork was appearing on game cases. Her artwork was also unique for video games since she uses a variety of acrylic mediums in her work as well as metallic paints, and even ink. It looks more like something that would be seen at a museum rather than on the cover of a video game box.

European box art of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
The book featuring her artwork, Santa Lilio Sangre was released in Japan in 2010. Up to this point, it has only seen a Japanese release. It's a well made, well design coffee table book that features a lot of her Castlevania artwork (although not all of it) and a lot of her other work as well. I guess there isn't too much more I can say about it, so these images that I pulled from the internet can speak for themselves, although I can assure you that they do not do the artwork justice by any means.

Now some of you may ask what any of this has to do with me. After all, in my first entry, I did mention that my blog would be about me and my artwork. The truth is, this has everything to do with me because had it not been for Ayami Kojima and her artwork, my artwork may not be where it is today. A few years ago, I had decided to make the slow transition to mixed media and I was on the search for various new mediums that would be good for creating more three dimensional work and that would be good for enhancing drawings and paintings. Although, I knew about Ayami Kojima and her work already, I had not paid too much attention to how she created her work until I was on the search for new mediums. I looked her up online and found out everything she used. My intention was not to make work that looked like hers. Instead, I wanted to see what I could do with molding paste, metallic paints, and polymer gloss. My experiment led to my 2009 piece the Eternal Midnight Sonata. In 2010, my pieces Sparky, Mourning After Dawn, and Memento-Mori would follow this same influence.

The Eternal Midnight Sonata. Completed in 2009.
Sparky. Completed in 2010.
Mourning After Dawn. Completed in 2010.
Memento-Mori. Completed in 2010.
However, not only did Ayami Kojima's work greatly influence the current direction of my art, but perhaps my own future. For years, as I had been progressing as an artist, I had been trying to figure out where it will all lead to, what I would be doing for the rest of my life. Despite going to college, I had always wanted to work independently, to run my own business. I eventually came to the conclusion that creating and publishing my own books is something I would like to do. Although I had made this decision long before Santa Lilio Sangre was released, seeing this book has made me more determined to go in that direction. These kinds of books are so beautiful and so well crafted. In the age of e-books and other forms of digitized reading, books like this make books as a physical medium precious, just like they were centuries ago when owning books was considered a luxury. I would love to make comic books, graphic novels, and coffee table books, and to do so with the same care and love that I had given to my artwork over the years. For those of you who like my artwork, don't worry about me abandoning the kind of work I've been doing for almost 10 years now. I believe that kind of artwork will lead to all sorts of innovations and will be the backbone of everything else I do. The buttons I started making in 2010 (which I hope to discuss later) are proof of that. 

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